Monday, April 30, 2012


I'm trying to figure out how to work the new blogger settings--frustrating.

No doubt I'll get better at it eventually.
All these pictures are bunched up tight together, and the old way of placing space between them does not work.  Anyone know how to do it?

It was a nice weekend, all in all. Today's the last day of April, so onward to May. love, Val

Sunday, April 29, 2012

patience with technology

Oh, Lord have mercy.  We're just trying to get the updated blogger software to do anything besides make me curse.   Wow.   Good night, love, Val

Friday, April 27, 2012

a perfect child


A perfect child.

She is.

She told my mother and me that yesterday.

We were sitting in the kitchen chatting, and she mentioned she had been a perfect child.

“I didn’t cry or throw fits.  I slept with one foot up on the side of the basket.  I was small and easy to carry, and I got potty trained right away.”


Sigh.   It’s somewhat true. She was an agreeable baby, a happy toddler, but let’s not get carried away.

 My mom looked at her out the corner of her eye, trying not to laugh.

I said, “Yeah, you were perfect up until you BROKE THE COUCH!”

She looked at me with big eyes.

“Julia, I’ve had TEN KIDS, and you are the only one who has ever BROKEN THE COUCH.  Think about that.”

She laughed, “Sorry.”


Today was a very peaceful Friday.  Tim had a haircut.  We went grocery shopping and cooked meals for John and Dannell to eat next week when he’s back at work.

I even gave Sam a bath and that’s no small project.  I have to put on shorts and get in the tub.  (We have a weird tub, 4 feet square.)   She rolled her eyes up at me miserably, and made a couple attempts to exit, and I had to drag her back in again, pulling on her skin and fur.

But now she smells much nicer, like tulips, as John said.

And Julia?  Life is much easier once you've broken that perfection barrier and can be happy with just good enough.

You are such a great girl, but please do not jump twenty-six times on the couch.  

love forever, Mom

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the hi story

 Mom and Kari and I were watching babies today and John and Dannell came to visit with l.c. and the new baby.

 Macaroni and cheese, kid food supreme:

 Here's Uncle John helping a guy consume his lunch.  John's a good eating cheerleader.

 And Uncle John fetched this colorful contraption to the patio and the little guy liked it a lot.

 But then there's the lap of the Auntie, also good when you're tired and your shirt rides up, and you know.

 Here's this little girl, greeting the new baby with her sweet, chirping, "Hiiii!  Hiii!"

She likes to rub their hair and touch her cheek to them.   b.g.'s brother is almost four months old now, and she says, "Hiiii," and then snatches his socks off his feet, not that he cares.

Today was a great Tuesday, including the cherry-filled cake my mother brought, and the sun, and the foolishness.

Okay, the foolishness?

Last night I came home from work and the couch--the red couch in the family room that the kids told me was the best thing that's happened to our family in years??

That couch?

Was broken.

It looked like a wrecking ball was dropped right on a cushion.

Jay has a drill and brackets, and he fixed it this morning.

I said I don't come home from working and expect to find the furniture broken.

Julia's big eyes darted all over--thinking under pressure, thinking up lies.

She said she only sat on it.


Then maybe, possibly there was some bouncing.   The size of the bounce seems to be between six and twelve inches.

How many bounces?

She estimated twenty-six.


Onward. The couch is fixed, the world kept on turning anyway, and there was money in the mailbox today.

Everything is okay.

love always, Val

Sunday, April 22, 2012

a new baby born

Ahhh, here's the new mama admiring a tiny stretchy suit.

And here's Auntie Maria and her brand new nephew.

Uncle Jay

And these two little aunties?

He's a lucky boy.
Grandpa and him:

Uncle Tim and our baby:

More aunties:

Oh yeah--look at that hair!  That lustrous mop of hair!

You can imagine how divine it smells.

Awww,  hugging with Auntie Kirsten.

But here he is with his mother, and the strangely distorted lens on her striped sweater.

What we overlooked is a picture of this new baby with his father. 

How predictable. Those poor overwhelmed dads always wind up last on the list.

Sorry, John.

Happy Birthday, beautiful boy.  This family is pretty darn pleased to meet you.

Love always, Grandma and Grandpa and all the rest of the relatives who adore you.

dock time

This dock is  a perfectly fine dock.  John tried to tell me it's a safety hazard for the grandkids.


It's been safe enough for my kids all these years.

But this dang thing is heavy, and grinding in those posts by hand--good thing their dad is a hearty man and they have a little brother who does 100 push ups a day.

The audience, climbed up on the neighbors' fine roll in dock.

Gotta drill those sections together and the planks on top. Go, Jimmy.

Finally, the freezing time was over. Even with waders it's not fun.

Oh, but this girl, she's all about fun. She thinks I have food here.

We didn't play poker last night,  Apples to Apples instead, as we ate shrimp and waited for word of Dannell and John's baby being born. We knew she was in labor and thank goodness for texting.

Well, the baby was still unborn at this point, but it's still early.   We're not sure who won Apples to Apples last night.   Jay says Little Jay and Tim won. They were a team. I was a team with Julia and we just are not nearly as funny as those two are.

Onward.   love, Val

an april weekend at the lake

It was cold and overcast, but that didn't affect the one-card poker, or the shrimp eating.

Oh, look at that.  She's the dealer, and it got to the end, and she had a two, so she cut the deck, hoping for something better.

And got an ace. Ace's low.  See those ornery crossed arms?


Sometimes it goes like that.  Nevermind. Next round.

Doin' nails:

Oh, and homeschool.  We took a bunch of stuff and worked on homeschool at the lake.  It's the perfect place, few distractions, lots of time.  Tim read us this story about the best nest.

Okay, even after vision therapy, see the rubbing of the eyes?  The annoyed body language? 

He's perfectly capable of reading this story, reading the words.  It is not too hard for him.

Mentally, that is.  But physically?   It's work.

All this physical squirming and fidgeting all about used to drive me CRAZY with John.

"Sit up here!  Look at the book.  Where are we?"

He'd flail about and complain and I'd grit my teeth until my temples ached.

Now he's a grown man, multiple college degrees, reads fine.  This afternoon I overheard him discussing Hunger Games with Kirsten.  (He even reads for entertainment now in his old age. Who could have imagined it?)

But now we've got uncomfortable Tim, making his way through this story. He said he hoped the bell would ring in the belfry where the birds had built their nest and, I quote, "Scare the shit out of them."

That would have been a better ending, I agree. Plus dyslexic kids can always sound out words like shit.

Lydia worked on math a while. She's getting much better this year--the ratios, the fractions, they're coming right along.

 Here they're working on equations and Maria is helping with order of operations.

 A Nintendo break right here:

John and Dannell and the kids gave me this new patio swing for my birthday.  It's quite adorable.

These two dudes managed to get it assembled, but it wasn't all that easy.

Oh, and this is Julia after she cut her hand.

She was trying to shove a chunk of stuck-together ice cubes into a flowered tumbler, and it broke, and she cut her hand in multiple places.

There was a lot of blood, especially that spot near her pinky--it was a smallish cut, but apparently deep because that thing gushed blood and didn't quit oozing for a couple hours, even with ice and a washcloth wrapped around it.

I was on the phone with a client when this happened and had to blurt out over the screaming,  "My seven year old daughter has cut her hand on a glass.  I'll call you back."


Anyway, she's fine, and those long skinny fingers are too.    Sigh.  love, Val